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Evaluating the Toronto Blue Jays’ off-season

DUNEDIN, Fla. – The way Ross Atkins appears to be at it, the Toronto Blue Jays just cannot quit looking for upgrades when spring education begins.

Staying a important-league typical supervisor signifies searching for talent 12 months a year, not just at the trade deadline or in the course of the winter season conferences. In that feeling, the lookup carries on for Atkins, specifically when it will come to pitching. But with spring education video games now effectively underway and even Bryce Harper seemingly nearing a choice, a extended and sluggish-shifting baseball off-year has ended.

Back in Oct, as groups were still finalizing their winter season designs, I outlined 10 steps that would end result in a productive off-year for the Blue Jays. Just about 5 months afterwards, the Blue Jays have produced many adjustments with no generating any splashy additions (they discussed Harper internally but never appeared to get critical on that front).

At the identical time, they have finished a lot of what I proposed. By evaluating people tips to the moves they produced, we can respond to that first concern: did the Blue Jays have a productive winter season?

1.) Drop Yangervis Solarte’s choice, work out Justin Smoak’s choice

Did they do it? Of course

Two simple phone calls. Solarte didn’t participate in effectively plenty of to justify his $5.5 million choice, when $8 million for Smoak is affordable thinking of he has consecutive seasons with at the very least 25 homers and a .350 on-base percentage.

2.) DFA Dalton Pompey

Did they do it? No

For now, Pompey continues to be on the roster. By the conclusion of spring education the Blue Jays will have to make a contact on no matter if to retain him or test to go him by way of waivers.

3.) Trade Russell Martin and $16 of his $20 million to a contender for a C prospect

Did they do it? Of course

The Blue Jays sent Martin and $16.4 million to the Dodgers for prospects Andrew Sopko and Ronny Brito. The deal tends to make feeling because it creates playing time for Danny Jansen and Reese McGuire when also liberating up funds and including a pair of possibly beneficial prospects.

4.) Trade Kendrys Morales and $10 of $12 million for a D prospect

Did they do it? No

In principle, this move would have opened up specified hitter at-bats for gamers in require of a rest and produced it less difficult to roster an individual like Rowdy Tellez. Rather, Morales is still a Blue Jay right after another tricky off-year for more mature sluggers. If Nelson Cruz gets just $14.3 million right after a fifth consecutive 35-homer year, you can picture that groups weren’t lining up for Morales at $12 million.

5.) Hear to trade gives for Kevin Pillar, Randal Grichuk, Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez and Ken Giles

Did they do it? Of course

It is no secret that the Blue Jays listened to gives on this team, and although nothing has arrive to fruition just nonetheless, people off-year discussions could notify moves this summer. The Blue Jays talked to each workforce in the starting off pitching industry about Stroman and Sanchez, who could each be moved at the trade deadline if they rebound from tricky 2018 seasons.

6.) Trade Aledmys Diaz to a contender for pitching

Did they do it? Of course

Once Marwin Gonzalez strike free agency, the Astros emerged as a suitor for Diaz and the Blue Jays produced a deal for proper-hander Trent Thornton. This appears to be like a gain-gain trade considering the fact that the Astros are exceptionally deep in pitching and the Blue Jays require arms like Thornton, a 25-year-old who’s almost significant-league prepared.

7.) Sign a starting off pitcher to a shorter-expression deal

Did they do it? Of course

Matt Shoemaker’s a person-year, $3.5-million deal is specifically the variety of deal a rebuilding workforce desires. He was a important pitcher from 2014-16, but accidents confined him to just 21 starts off about the final two seasons. If Shoemaker rebounds, the Blue Jays will have a beneficial summer trade chip or an individual they can hold on to for 2020. Otherwise, there is minimal downside below.

But even although there is nothing incorrect with the Shoemaker deal, I believed the Blue Jays must have finished extra below. Garrett Richards, who ended up in San Diego on a two-year, $15.5-million deal, would have been a excellent complement to Shoemaker, his longtime teammate with the Angels. Granted, just about any pitcher would pick out the Padres about the AL East if the gives are identical, so why not bid extra aggressively? 20 million about two several years would still have been well worth it, even if that is double what Tommy John veterans Michael Pineda and Drew Smyly bought below similar situations.

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8.) Tender all arbitration-eligible gamers apart from Solarte and Jake Petricka

Did they do it? Of course

The Blue Jays taken off Petricka from the 40-guy roster early in the off-year as a substitute of tendering him a deal.

9.) Add extra starting off pitching

Did they do it? Of course

Shortly right after including Shoemaker, the Blue Jays obtained Clayton Richard for prospect Connor Panas. The still left-hander has been an helpful starter just before, but he’s a back-conclusion choice at this phase of his profession, and it is challenging to visualize him as a major deadline piece at age 35 presented that he does not have too much to handle stuff.

An individual has to pitch the innings, so there is nothing incorrect with including Richard, who has started out 59 video games about the past two seasons. At the identical time, the Blue Jays must have included extra upside below in my watch. They were in on Yusei Kikuchi just before he landed a $56-million guarantee from the Mariners, nonetheless it does not seem like they were near to landing the 27-year-old. If they had identified a way to indicator him, that would have included meaningfully to the club’s emerging main.

10.) Gradual-participate in the free agent reduction industry

Did they do it? Of course

The Blue Jays signed David Phelps on Jan. 12, and included John Axford on Feb. 14. Neither deal expenses all that a lot and each pitchers could be intriguing trade candidates by mid-summer. Circumstance in position: Corey Copping, the proper-hander who arrived back in final summer’s Axford trade.

There is still home to include presented the inquiries encompassing projected bullpen arms this kind of as Joe Biagini, who had a 6.00 Era final year, and Elvis Luciano, a Rule 5 decide on who just turned 19. That stated, it wouldn’t be shocking to see the club go on sluggish-participate in the industry, as it did with Seung-hwan Oh and Tyler Clippard final spring.

Otherwise, the most significant move the Blue Jays produced was at shortstop, in which Freddy Galvis replaces the now-unveiled Troy Tulowitzki. Defensively speaking, the Blue Jays most likely upgraded below and when Tulowitzki has extra ability, he wasn’t almost as responsible as Galvis, who owns baseball’s lively consecutive video games played streak. To me, that swap tends to make feeling.

So, back to the authentic concern: did the Blue Jays have a productive off-year? They’ve shipped on 8 of my 10 tips, so it would be totally contradictory to criticize them now. The front business surely earns a passing grade below.

That stated, I do assume they must have used to include extra starting off pitching with upside for 2020 and further than. The concern of who starts off for this workforce when it is contending yet again still looms massive right after these off-year moves. Adding an individual like Richards or Kikuchi would have aided respond to it.

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